January 25th, 2015
What kind of case lubricant do you use. If you’re like most hand-loaders, you prefer some kind of thin, spray-on lube. Our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com surveyed his readers, with the results displayed in the chart below. Thin spray-type lubes took the top spot, followed by waxy-type lubes.* CLICK HERE to Vote in the Case Lube Poll.
Synthetic Motor Oil for Special Tasks
One new lubrication option Gavin has tried is synthetic motor oil “I’ve started using another product for rifle case lube: synthetic motor oil. In particular, I’ve been using this oil to ‘prime’ rifle sizing dies when starting a loading session. This priming combined with fresh spray lube (Dillon DCL recently) has been a good combination for .223/5.56 and .308/7.62x51mm loading sessions.
I just pour a bit of synthetic motor oil into the quart jug cap, dip my finger into the cap, and apply about one drop to the outside of the case with my fingers. I then dip the end of a Q-Tip into the oil cap (just a drop applied), and roll the end of the Q-Tip between my fingers. The Q-Tip is then ‘rolled’ inside the case mouth to provide lube for the expander ball. I’m wondering how many thousands of applications I could get out of one quart of motor oil!
READ more case lubrication tips at UltimateReloader.com
*This Editor’s own perference follow this ranking. For regular case-sizing with benchrest cases (and close-fitting dies), I use Ballistol aerosol (active ingredient is mineral oil). For heavy case-forming duties I use Imperial Die Wax.
Clean and Lube
One advantage of Ballistol is that, wiped on a patch, it will remove carbon residue from case necks. That way you can clean and lube your case in one step before running your case into the Full-length sizing dies. Just spray a little on a cotton patch. After cleaning the case-neck flip the patch over and lube the case body.
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January 24th, 2015
Our friends Ed and Steve, AKA the 6.5 Guys were in Las Vegas this week, checking out new products at SHOT Show. Ed and Steve visited some of our favorite gear-makers, including Nightforce Optics, Manners Composite Stocks, David Tubb, and G.A. Precision. Here are Ed and Steve’s Show reports for these important vendors. You can see more SHOT Show videos by Ed and Steve at 6.5Guys.com.
Highlights include Nightforce’s new F1 First Focal Plane scopes. Our readers will probably be most interested in the new ATACR™ 5-25x56mm F1™ riflescope. With a beefy 34mm maintube, the new 5-25x56mm F1 boasts an impressive 30 MOA (or 12 Mil-Rads) of elevation per revolution, with 120 MOA (or 35 mils) of total elevation adjustment.
Manners Composite Stocks
There are about a half-dozen new stocks from Manners for 2015, both for precision long-range shooters as well as hunters. In the video Tom Manners shows a new tactical folder and the T7 Hybrid, an older design that Tom brought back by popular demand.
11-Time National High Power Champion David Tubb displayed his new T7T 2-stage trigger for Remington 700 actions. This is an impressive new component that is a major upgrade over the factory trigger. First stage and second stage are separately adjustable. Price is $350.00 for right- or left-hand versions at DavidTubb.com.
George Gardner, founder of G.A. Precision shows off the impressive new Tempest Action, and talks about trends in the world of tactical competition. Shown below is a black-finish Tempest in a rifle at G.A.P.’s booth.
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January 24th, 2015
You don’t want to inquire about the price of a Bleiker competition rifle. As the expression goes, “If you have to ask, you can’t afford it”. At the Pardini USA booth at SHOT Show we saw a pair of black beauties — two “full-race” Bleikers, one a smallbore match rifle (.22 LR) and the other a 300m position rifle chambered in 6mmBR Norma. The combined price for the two rifles was a jaw-dropping $20,100.00. Yep, over $20K for the two. The 6mmBR rig was $10,200 while the smallbore rifle was $9,900.00.
Bleikers command such high prices because they win. At recent ISSF 300m and Smallbore Championships, Bleikers have been used by many of the medal winners. A gun is worth $10K if it can really put you on the podium or, better yet, deliver a world championship.
You are looking at $20,100 of Competition Rifles here. (Click Image for full-screen version.)
Take a look at this slick feature on the 300m gun. The adjustable cheek-pad automatically tilts up (for clearance) when you retract the bolt. That’s clever Swiss Engineering.
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January 24th, 2015
Our friend Dennis Santiago found two interesting rifles at SHOT Show. At first glance, these look just like the legendary M1 Garand and the M1A (civilian version of the M14). The size is right and the stocks look authentic. But take a closer look and you see these are NOT chambered for .30-06 (Garand) or 7.62×51 (M1A) cartridges. Rather, these Baby Battle Rifles are rimfire clones, chambered for the .22 LR. We like the concept — this gives Garand Match and M1A Match competitors the ability to cross-train with low-cost rimfire ammo. Plus, who wouldn’t want a rimfire Garand for a little low-recoil plinking fun? We bet these will produce smiles when folks at the range see them for the first time. And a .22 LR Garand is definitely going to be softer on the ears (and your shoulder)!
Dennis tells us: “These were kind of neat. The form factors and ergonomics are accurate. The weight is a pound or two lighter than the real deal. Trigger is Ruger’ish. It might be fun to show up with one of these at a CMP .22 Sporter match.”
The two Baby Battle Rifles are sold by Kingston Armory. You can visit KingstonArmory.com, but there’s really nothing to see yet — Kingston’s website is still “under construction. If you have questions you can call Kingston at 845-292-3222.
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January 23rd, 2015
Gear Report by Kip Staton
TrackingPoint’s innovative technology has been on the market for a number of years now, and has proven to be a valuable long-range shooting tool. TrackingPoint is a Texas-based, Austin-area applied technology company that developed a unique, precision-guided firearm (PGF) system in 2011. TrackingPoint’s ordinary rifles in common calibers, designated with the XS prefix, are equipped with high-tech “networked tracking” rifle scopes.
CLICK to view full-screen image:
These advanced optics are the heart of the company’s tag-and-shoot technology, and the entire setup is remarkably similar to the systems found in cutting-edge fighter jets. So, how does it work in the real world?
Pretty darn well, as it turns out. The shooter simply finds his or her target, centers his “X” reticle on it, and presses a “tag” button, which is usually integrated into the firearm’s trigger guard. This puts a digital “mark” on the target, and the optic remembers where that particular tag was placed for the duration of the shot. At this point, the system has already automatically performed all necessary distance and environmental calculations. The only other manual inputs needed on the shooter’s part are to enter the wind call, and press the trigger. And, the rifle even helps out with that part.
Because the tag was placed on a unique target, and is remembered by the system, the rifle won’t actually let the shot break until the shooter has lined up the crosshairs with the original tag. So the user may press the trigger, and nothing will happen… until the reticle is placed on the original tag. The rifle will then fire. For each Tracking Point shot, the elevation should be dead on. However the wind can still come into play — the TrackingPoint system does not sense the wind speed or direction. Wind values must be detected by the shooter and entered manually. Once wind speed/angle are entered, the TrackingPoint automatically calculates the needed windage correction (left or right).
The firing process (with the rifle’s brain doing the elevation calculation) can be somewhat disconcerting for shooters new to a PGF. But, this system holds promise, and can help shooters make difficult shots with greater confidence. In particular, the built-in ballistics solver means the trigger-puller no longer needs to worry about elevation clicks and/or hold-overs at any distance. The system calculates bullet drop at any rangeable distance and plots the correct point of aim. “X marks the spot”:
The TrackingPoint system does much more than make long range shots easier to accomplish. The networked tracking scope is also a WiFi server. This means that the image seen through the ocular lens (by the shooter) can be beamed to an Apple iPad, which is included with the rifle. Hunting guides can then see exactly what their clients are viewing through the optic, and make suggestions or provide pertinent advice to the shooter.
If that wasn’t enough, TrackingPoint recently integrated the high-tech Google Glass hardware into their shooting system. By using eyewear with built-in displays linked to the TrackingPoint optic, shooters can make successful shots without looking directly through a rifle-mounted scope. The eyewear has a small display that shows the target(s) “seen” by the rifle’s optic. The operator can then take the shot from any position. You can shoot around a corner, or keep your head and torso out of view. The possibilities for hunters, competitors and real-world tactical shooters are nearly endless.
TrackingPoint’s unique rifle systems are available in both semi-automatic and bolt-action formats, ranging in calibers from .223 (5.56 NATO) to a proprietary .338 of the company’s own design. What do these systems cost? Well high technology does not come cheap. Rifle systems range in price from $7,495 to a staggering $49,995. But, for the right client and the right mission, perhaps no price for this technology is too high. That’s what Tracking Point is counting on….
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January 23rd, 2015
All shooters, even rimfire enthusiasts, should always wear ear protection when at the range. A typical rifle gunshot is very loud — in the region of 140 to 170 decibels (the pain threshold is 130-140 db). Without ear protection, you can permanently damage your hearing during a single shooting session. We all know older shooters who are partially deaf, or who suffer from Tinnitus, because they didn’t use earplugs or muffs when they were younger.
How Humans Hear Sounds — Amazing Video Reveals All
The human sense of hearing involves multiple delicate internal membranes, bones, organs, and nerves. Shooters understand the importance of protecting their hearing, but they may not understand the bio-mechanics of human hearing. We hear sounds through Auditory Transduction. Sound waves vibrate the ear drum (tympanic membrane), but that is only the beginning. These vibrations are passed along via tiny rocker-arm-like bones to be “processed” in a spiral chamber, the cochlea. Vibrations moving through the cochlea are separated into frequencies and then sent as neural messages to the brain. It is an astonishingly complex process, one that truly seems miraculous when you examine the bio-engineering involved. In the Video below, the process of human Auditory Transduction is explained and illustrated with 3D animation. You really should watch this amazing video. By the end you will have a new-found appreciation for your ability to hear.
This remarkable VIDEO explains how humans hear sounds. We strongly recommend you take the time to watch and learn. The hearing you save may be your own!
Ear diagram courtesy Siemens Medical Solutions.
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January 22nd, 2015
We’ll give you a break from SHOT Show coverage by taking you across the Atlantic to Great Britain. There Chris Parkin has been putting a Savage F-TR Rifle through its paces. Chris has reviewed this popular rifle in a field test just published by Target Shooter Magazine. Chris wrote a very detailed and thorough review. If you are considering any factory-based rifle for F-TR competition you should read this article. It is lengthy, but the text and photos are good and it is worth the investment of time.
CLICK HERE to Read Savage F-TR Rifle Review
CLICK HERE to Download Savage F-TR Review as PDF File
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January 22nd, 2015
Gear Report by Kip Staton
Shooters in the market for an accurate anemometer that doesn’t break the bank need to take a hard look at the WeatherFlow Wind Meter, which retails on Amazon.com for just $34.95. Even though it is inexpensive, owner reviews have been overwhelmingly postive (so long as the software is compatible with your device). One Amazon reviewer says the WeatherFlow measures wind velocity as accurately as his expensive Kestrel.
A big part of the reason the WeatherFlow Wind Meter is so inexpensive is that you’ve probably already got the brains of the system in your pocket. Yes, it connects to and communicates with any standard smartphone or tablet, in either iOS or Android flavors. Users simply download the free WeatherFlow Wind Meter app to their smart device, insert the anemometer into the headphone jack, and can immediately start measuring the wind.
Of course, the first question any serious shooter will ask is “How accurate is this thing?” Pretty dang accurate, as it turns out. The device was calibrated by the University of Florida’s Aerospace Engineering Department, and the unique design allows it to consistently report to within a half a percentage point of the true wind value, even if the breeze is up to 15 degrees off-axis to the meter.
Wind speeds are measurable from as slow as two miles per hour to as high as 125 MPH. The Wind Meter outputs average, lull, and gusts windspeed data to your phone, with velocities indicated in 0.1 MPH increments. Furthermore, a hard-sided protective case is included for safe transportation.
Naturally, since the WeatherFlow Wind Meter is App-based, it’s connectable to a variety of social media websites and distribution sources. This makes saving and sharing information about climate conditions a breeze.
About the Writer
Kip Staton is a freelance gun writer based in North Texas, and loves to blog about news within the firearms industry and his perceptions on marksmanship at KipStaton.com. He served as the weekend range manager of the North Texas Shooter’s Association from 2010-2012, at which point he began performing sales consultations for a major online firearms retailer. Currently, Kip is a content marketer, copywriter and digital strategist for an award-winning Dallas marketing agency.
To read more gear reviews by Kip, visit KipStaton.com.
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January 22nd, 2015
At the 2015 Media Day at the Range, I got to try our some sweet firearms. One was a handgun I’ve lusted after for a couple years, every since watching the killer video German arms-maker Korth created for its Pistole PRS. This video has some great exploded parts views and 3D animations, showing how the roller locking system works when a .45 ACP round is fired.
3D-Cutaway Shots from PRS Pistol Video
Video from 2014 Media Day
This Video was put together by another journalist last year, but we shot the same gun this year.
Learn More about the Korth PRS Pistol:
Korth Web Site
The Firearm Blog Korth PRS Range Report
Guns.com Korth PRS Report
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January 21st, 2015
Opening day at SHOT Show is always overwhelming. Tens of thousands of visitors fill the Sands Convention Center. The rows of booths seem endless. Here are a few quick highlights from Day One.
So many booths, so many people. Yes it can boggle the mind…
Shilen had barrels galore on display (including AR barrels). Shilen also showcased triggers.
Handsome F-Class and Benchrest rifles were featured at Kelbly’s booth.
Labradar. Yes it is real. Yes it is FCC-approved. We’re told the first units should ship by mid-spring.
Bill Wiseman builds the massive text fixtures used by Remington, Sig Sauer, Lapua, and other big companies. This former USMC armorer is world renowned for the quality of his testing rigs.
Like father, like daughter. Steve Dahlke runs Criterion Barrels with expert help from his uber-smart daughter Stephanie, a talented young engineer.
QuickLOAD software has been updated with data for many new powders, including IMR 4166.
The folks at Timney Triggers found a way to attract booth visitors — chocolate treats with Timney graphics. Yummy.
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January 21st, 2015
Bullets.com has contracted with Norma to produce 1,000,000 pieces of .284 Winchester and 6mm Dasher brass (500,000 of each type). This is big news for competitive shooters. The .284 Win cartridge is a proven winner in F-Class competition and the 6 Dasher is a record-setting mid-range benchrest cartridge. It’s tough to beat the Dasher at 300-600 yards, and the .284 Win is probably the most successful cartridge for F-Open shooters.
Bullets.com President Shiraz Balolia (left) and Norma Managing Director Paul-Erik Toivo “ink the deal”.
Shooters should be excited about these new offerings. Bullets.com’s contract with Norma calls for advanced production methods to make sure the new brass is truly “match-grade” and long-lasting. To ensure that primer pockets stay tight for many firings, the caseheads on the new brass will be double-stamped for improved hardness and strength. Additionally the new brass will go through an additional draw stage to ensure ultra-uniform casewall thickness. With these extra manufacturing steps, this new 6mm Dasher and .284 Win brass should be the best brass Norma has ever produced, as Bullets.com President Shiraz Balolia explains in the video below:
Shiraz Balolia Explains the Qualities of the New Brass
Shiraz reports: “Normally, Norma has about 25 steps of quality control (QC) during the production process of brass. They told us that our first shipments will have almost 30 steps to make sure that the brass is absolutely flawless when it leaves the factory.”
|For illustration only — actual specifications may be slightly different.
6mm Dasher without Fire-Forming Hassles
Until now, if you wanted to shoot a Dasher, you had to go through the time-consuming and laborious process of forming brass from the parent 6mmBR Norma case. You had to blow the shoulder forward, either through fire-forming or hydro-forming. Now that’s all changed — you will soon be able to take perfect 6mm Dasher brass out of the box, and “load and shoot”.
The Deal is done. New Norma .284 Win brass will start arriving in the USA in March, 2015, while the new Dasher brass is expected in late summer 2015.
IMPORTANT — The above diagrams were made 4 years ago with QuickDESIGN. They are for illustration purposes ONLY. These are NOT reamer prints, and there may be small differences compared to the Norma .284 Win and 6mm Dasher brass ordered by Bullets.com. Do NOT spec reamers based on the above illustrations. Wait ’til we have the actual Norma brass to measure.
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January 21st, 2015
The Kelbly clan had an impressive new action on display at SHOT Show. This new Kelbly Atlas Tactical action features a super-hard, durable black nitride external coating. This is a not a spray-on or bake-on finish. It is actually a surface layer treatment of the metal that increases the toughness of the finish to 84 Rockwell while making it super-smooth. This allows the action to work well with minimal lubrication.
Ian Kelbly says this action was designed with input from tactical gunsmiths and PRS competitors. The action comes standard with a fluted bolt, APA oversized bolt-knob, and a +20 MOA Picatinny rail on top. The fluted bolt helps keep channel dirt and dust out of the contact surfaces. Ian says this black nitride finish should provide superior function in sandy, dusty, or dirty environments because it can run with almost no lube/grease that attracts and retains grit. Visit Kelbly.com for action specifications and current pricing.
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